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Pottery Marketing at Christmas-this works well


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#1 Mark C.

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:10 PM

I have had posts on making things and display racks and fitting more pots into a kiln but now its selling them which this post is about. This is not for everyone but if you are motivated and want to sell your work this is just one way that works well at holiday time. This is one I discovered a long time ago.
This is one way to direct market your ceramics to the public. It’s a sure fire way at Christmas. I stumbled on this years ago. Many years ago I decided to not travel to shows at x-mas and sell my pottery direct to my local audience. This was in 1979. I went to our local shopping center(town of under 20,ooo) and looked around. There is a Safeway grocery store anda Large Chain drug store and some assorted local businesses (about 8-10) inthis small shopping center. All of these stores have a huge weather overhang for our rainy mild climate. I approached the drug store manager and cut a deal to sell my pottery outside his store for a flat fee the two weeks before x-mas.This was the start of a 33 year of selling pottery at x-mas in this shopping center-Since that early time I went thru 5 managers and 4 name changes on that drug store chain as it sold to others along the way-I did 8 years in front of Safeway and now for the past 5 years I am in front of our Local pet store-theonly local shop that’s been thereas long as me. This is a flat fee deal with the shopping center managing real estate firm. The rent is 200$ and I can do as many days as I want in December.I set my own hours. The local store likes me and I do not have to deal with corporate district managers who change their tune every year. The pet store is a solid well-attended business.

This center has had its ups and downs and usually there area few empty stores all thru this 33-year run. This is a way to sell your work and catch the x-mas buying frenzy. It works well-I have learned to tune my hours over the years to what sells the most for the least time. I am open 12-6pm Monday-thru Thursday-11-6pmFri-Sat-11-6 Sundays. Now in order for this to work well I designed a lockable closeable booth. One that includes heat and has power and my sales help can sit in. This idea can work in an indoor environment as well if you live where winter is snow and cold. This can be tweaked to whatever you can come up with and it’s a bit outside the box but works well. It’s the time of year that functional stuff flies off the shelve. I do carry my own business liability insurance and that’s around 300$ but I use it all year as well. I have now been there so long I’m an institution and the locals know where to find me. I do put up florescent color signs ( youcannot not look at them) thru town all on private property that say PotterySale outside such and such store. Get permission for the signs well in advance-I grease the wheels with a few mugs. This situation can be in your area-scout it out this year and get it going next season-Its really a good marketing idea that works well. Its local and I’m local and every year it’s better than the last.

Here’s the setup-the pots on rack on left get stuffed into the display every night for lock up and the lights fit inside as well as the small table on right side as well as a few back stock boxes.

Mark

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Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#2 Nelly

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:25 AM

I have had posts on making things and display racks and fitting more pots into a kiln but now its selling them which this post is about. This is not for everyone but if you are motivated and want to sell your work this is just one way that works well at holiday time. This is one I discovered a long time ago.
This is one way to direct market your ceramics to the public. It’s a sure fire way at Christmas. I stumbled on this years ago. Many years ago I decided to not travel to shows at x-mas and sell my pottery direct to my local audience. This was in 1979. I went to our local shopping center(town of under 20,ooo) and looked around. There is a Safeway grocery store anda Large Chain drug store and some assorted local businesses (about 8-10) inthis small shopping center. All of these stores have a huge weather overhang for our rainy mild climate. I approached the drug store manager and cut a deal to sell my pottery outside his store for a flat fee the two weeks before x-mas.This was the start of a 33 year of selling pottery at x-mas in this shopping center-Since that early time I went thru 5 managers and 4 name changes on that drug store chain as it sold to others along the way-I did 8 years in front of Safeway and now for the past 5 years I am in front of our Local pet store-theonly local shop that’s been thereas long as me. This is a flat fee deal with the shopping center managing real estate firm. The rent is 200$ and I can do as many days as I want in December.I set my own hours. The local store likes me and I do not have to deal with corporate district managers who change their tune every year. The pet store is a solid well-attended business.

This center has had its ups and downs and usually there area few empty stores all thru this 33-year run. This is a way to sell your work and catch the x-mas buying frenzy. It works well-I have learned to tune my hours over the years to what sells the most for the least time. I am open 12-6pm Monday-thru Thursday-11-6pmFri-Sat-11-6 Sundays. Now in order for this to work well I designed a lockable closeable booth. One that includes heat and has power and my sales help can sit in. This idea can work in an indoor environment as well if you live where winter is snow and cold. This can be tweaked to whatever you can come up with and it’s a bit outside the box but works well. It’s the time of year that functional stuff flies off the shelve. I do carry my own business liability insurance and that’s around 300$ but I use it all year as well. I have now been there so long I’m an institution and the locals know where to find me. I do put up florescent color signs ( youcannot not look at them) thru town all on private property that say PotterySale outside such and such store. Get permission for the signs well in advance-I grease the wheels with a few mugs. This situation can be in your area-scout it out this year and get it going next season-Its really a good marketing idea that works well. Its local and I’m local and every year it’s better than the last.

Here’s the setup-the pots on rack on left get stuffed into the display every night for lock up and the lights fit inside as well as the small table on right side as well as a few back stock boxes.

Mark


Dear Mark,

That is a very cool set-up. I can imagine people depend on you to be there over the holidays. Great way to market yourself and your ware to your local community. As I wonder how this would work where I live, I think about having to have some pretty heavy duty locks so no-one takes off with any of the set-up. While it looks secure I wonder how it doesn't topple over. Do you have it secured or locked from the back as well?? Great booth and wonderful plan. I know a busker locally who sits outside the local liquor store in our community and he makes a killing over the holidays. Again, great marketing strategy.

Nellie

#3 Mark C.

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 01:08 AM

The back has side panels so one cannot get into the rear on sides-its screwed to building so it cannot move.-its 16 feet long. Has a roof and sides-all screwed together. It comes apart and turns into all flat pieces and is stored in a shed made for it where it lives till next season.My usual racks fit inside along with pro panel backs for hanging my ceramic fish.
Mark
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#4 TJR

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

The back has side panels so one cannot get into the rear on sides-its screwed to building so it cannot move.-its 16 feet long. Has a roof and sides-all screwed together. It comes apart and turns into all flat pieces and is stored in a shed made for it where it lives till next season.My usual racks fit inside along with pro panel backs for hanging my ceramic fish.
Mark


Mark;
Once again, a great marketing idea. Do those big doors on the front come off when you are open? Love the tourquoise glaze![hope that's how you spell it!]
Tom

#5 Mark C.

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:31 AM

These are new doors this year and are 1/4 birch plywood with aluminum channel covering the bottoms to protect the wood on cement.
They are hinged together as two pieces form one door. They interlock in center.The old ones where 3/8 and got to be to heavy for me to set aside.
The doors fold into two and I store them off to the side every day. I can put them on myself. The latches also have built in keyed locks from hardware store.
One key works them all.
The torquise glaze (used on outsides only) is from some potters I knew who are not with us anymore- Otto and Vivika Heino. You may have heard of Otto as he made some really big money 10-15 years ago selling a yellow glaze to the Japanese-he bought a few more Bentleys with that $. They were great folks.
Mark



Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#6 Nelly

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:10 PM

The back has side panels so one cannot get into the rear on sides-its screwed to building so it cannot move.-its 16 feet long. Has a roof and sides-all screwed together. It comes apart and turns into all flat pieces and is stored in a shed made for it where it lives till next season.My usual racks fit inside along with pro panel backs for hanging my ceramic fish.
Mark


Dear Mark,

The key is the back screws. This is how it would survive where I am. I can imagine how the panel conceals the hardware at the back. Again, great set-up. Well done and good for you in becoming what I am guessing is a holiday tradition in your community. Now that is a great way to sell pottery.

Nelly

#7 Guest_scott312_*

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

Here’s the setup-the pots on rack on left get stuffed into the display every night for lock up and the lights fit inside as well as the small table on right side as well as a few back stock boxes.

Mark






Excellent, I will have to build some. Thank you for posting.

#8 TJR

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 06:22 PM

These are new doors this year and are 1/4 birch plywood with aluminum channel covering the bottoms to protect the wood on cement.
They are hinged together as two pieces form one door. They interlock in center.The old ones where 3/8 and got to be to heavy for me to set aside.
The doors fold into two and I store them off to the side every day. I can put them on myself. The latches also have built in keyed locks from hardware store.
One key works them all.
The torquise glaze (used on outsides only) is from some potters I knew who are not with us anymore- Otto and Vivika Heino. You may have heard of Otto as he made some really big money 10-15 years ago selling a yellow glaze to the Japanese-he bought a few more Bentleys with that $. They were great folks.
Mark



Mark;
I didn't see your answer to my question the first time around. I met Otto and Vivika at an NCECA years ago. The one before Vegas. I asked a question of Pete Pinnell in the glaze doctors forum about how to prevent crazing for low-temp glazes. They were both in the audience, and told me to increase the silica. Works! I knew Vivika had passed. I hadn't heard about Otto. Tow great people.
Tom.

#9 Mark C.

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:12 PM

TJR
I knew the Heino's from being part of organizing a workshop they did up here (behind the redwood curtain) back in the 90's. They happened to be visiting friends in the SF bay area and agreed to drive up (6 hours) and do a two day workshop during the summer. They brought a few pots up and I ended up with one of Ottos nice stoneware pots.We hit it off and I've known them ever since. She passed years ago and he was a few years back. They where founding folks of Studio Potter which is a magazine I have subscribed to and donated to and written(once) for ever-almost since the 1st issue. Its changed course since the early days but is still a voice that does not accept advertising and can do what they want.
I read about his passing in that Magazine as well as I have another potter friend that lives nearby and had called me.
They where a great potter couple who shared a lot over a long period of time.
I still use some of they glazes they shared at that workshop. Otto really blossomed in his later years and was quite a character. He had really great stories
as well as some serious ones as he was a war surviver from WW11..
They will always be remembered for me and have influenced my being in clay.
Mark
Mark Cortright
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